« הקודםהמשך »
Jfcfe'&^&tfng than they might be;.^^y-befft Xl. ^hother state, but yet they-afPfbfeclen^,
^^^'^especially since he has giveft ta&fatislyih^ evidence! of his own moral perfections1^^ his moral government, though'they do slot shine out in their foil splendors* v ^ '.'The true consequence thereforefrom life promiscuous administration in the present state, so far as it is promiscuous, is not that it shall be so throughout j but quite on the contrary, that the less manifestly it appears now to be well with the righteous, the more manifest it shall be hereafter: fot;>if the government of the rational creation* be moral, and the ends of it must be obtained, it follows that they who sincerely adhere to the cause of virtue, must in proportion'be happy, not perfectly and apparentlyrsn . every circumstance and condition of their being, for that the divine wisdom and rectitude do not require, but in- the whole: When, and where, and in what manner> are points which our unfinished reason doth not reach to. Here the scripture instructs us more particularly, assuring us that she fatter end of the perfect and upright mamis peace; that she dead are blessed who die in the Ltrd; that God has appointed a day in i!;..•'. $; 'C -which ^which he - will judge the world in righteeifaess§E#.M* fy .jfefus Christ, who will be glorified itc h's 2CL faints, will give them crowns of Itfe^nd***^ glory, and Jfyall take vengeance on themitkai know not God, and obey not the gospel. :*
If we sincerely believe the christian religion* it is impossible to disbelieve this article, which lies at th« very foundation of it.; jndeed,it may justly be called the foundation of all religion, which is nothing else felt;the practice of virtue out of respect.to -the Deity, or from a sincere perswasion and acknowledgement of his Being, his moral
- perfections, and moral government, or his providence ruling the world in righteousness;
.^nay, virtue itself, in the most abstract way :<5f ^considering it, however amiable it may
- appear to the human mind, is left naked
:t concurring evidence of reason and revelation,
SERM.doth this arise? Certainly from inattention, XL from the influence of particular' affections,
w"v*"—'' passions, and habits. There is nothing more unaccountable in the state of human nature, and the conduct of its powers, than that men mould be determined to act against the conviction of their minds, and that the lower springs of action should prevail against those which are acknowledged to be superior. This is our infirmity, but it is not remediless j and the remedy is in ourselves: By 4 vigorous careful attention, and strong resolution, which our hearts will tell us are in our power, our contracted and even natu. ral weaknefjes may be cured; but if we will not mew ourselves men, we choose oar own destruction, and perish like fools. However, if the filthy will be filthy still, let the righteous be righteous still, assured that it (hall be well with him.
The Path of the Just, like . : shining Light.
Proverbs iv. 18.
But the path of the just, is as the jhining light, that Jhineth more and more, unto the perfeSt day.
IN this book Solomon recommends reli-SErM. gious virtue to our affectionate esteem, XII. to our choice and constant pursuit, by the' character of wisdom j a character which if it be justly applied, should render it highly amiable to mankind; for what can be more agreeable to an intelligent nature, than the proper use, and the best improvement of understanding? Indeed, if we fix our thoughts attentively in the contemplation of this excellent object, we cannot miss of discerning its beauty ; it mines by its own native splendor, and must strike every rational being with a sense of glory and dignity, T 4. which
&e R sr; which is no where else to be seenr ^"Every" XIK thing under the fun, when fetagaiafl: it,^is % """bet'J^W irf comparison; the most .finished beauties of corporal nature, are emptyr.stMW dows; for it is in reality reason itself in its highest exaltation.. But we must make 3 difference between the abstracted idea I of virtue or wisdom, and the practiceof it aft human life. The one is truly a divine form £ for moral rectitude and goodness is the glory* of God himself, and in him at is a traa-; fcendent excellence, which is the object of our highest admiration and love, though we, cannot form adequate conceptions ofonil&i The other virtue, as exemplified. in Jiiurmur characters, is a faint image, ihadedinot onlyi with intellectual imperfections^ iisiitafciiD all finite beings, whereby they come infi. nitely short of absolute wisdom and origin: nal holiness, but with moral defects ia::)tfir> present state j for there is not a just man thai livetb upon the earth and finneth not, who has not some remaining weakness, wherebyhe is in danger Of being drawn away into evil and folly. And yet imperfect a#it is? virtue makes an important difference^ among'..
men, a difference between their characters, and a difference between th^ir--conditions.